Movie Reviews

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The Adjustment Bureau
In Theaters: 03.04
Director George Nolfi has achieved the impossible by releasing the perfect date movie—which develops into a touching love story surrounded by a thrilling science-fiction voyage reminiscent of vintage “Twilight Zone” episodes. Everybody walks away happy! Matt Damon stars as David Norris, a young politician who meets the girl of his dreams, Elise (Emily Blunt), on the same night he loses the election for a seat in the U.S. Senate. After delivering his concession speech to millions, however, he doesn’t see the young woman again. Three years later, we’re introduced to a group of well-dressed men who appear to control the fate of the human race by stepping in and forcing decisions to be made without anyone ever knowing of their existence. When a mishap allows David to catch a bus he was destined to miss, he bumps into Elise and their spark is rekindled. Since their reunion was never supposed to be, David must challenge humanity’s puppeteers by risking everything for love, but must endure the wrath of the constant unknown. Damon and Blunt form a dazzling chemistry that keeps viewers demanding their union all the way to the intensified finale no matter the threatening obstacles they endure. The visual component is absolutely breathtaking, as it keeps you scratching your head while beaming with delight. Nolfi builds a timeless tale of affection and adventure that never takes itself too seriously and has the capability to entertain 50 years in the past or future. –Jimmy Martin

I Am Number 4
Touchstone Pictures
In Theaters: 02.18
It’s clear D.J. Caruso is hoping to set up the next teenage film franchise phenomenon with his superpowered alien renegade tale (especially now that everyone’s favorite wizard is on his way out), but the director should have focused on character development and finding a lead actor capable of driving the project before getting ahead of himself. John (Alex Pettyfer) is an extraterrestrial whose planet was destroyed by an enemy race. He, along with eight other children, escaped the destruction by finding refuge on Earth, but the fight for survival lingers once the relentless savages who destroyed their home resurface. As they butcher the first three escapees in sequential order, John soon realizes he is the next target on their list. With the help of his mentor/protector (Timothy Olyphant) and a classmate/crush (Dianna Agron), John must learn to control his newly acquired legacies (aka superpowers) in order to enact his retaliation. Pettyfer is incapable of portraying genuine emotions for the audience to grasp a hold of, and this unsettling fact does not mix well with the utter tediousness of the first half of the film. Sadly, Caruso refuses to use the idling talents of Agron by typecasting her as the damsel in distress who’s only good for a smile when she’s capable of so much more. The stronger facets come from Olyphant, who commands the screen whenever present with sharp dialogue and the adrenaline-fueled action sequences, but both components are few and far between and restricted from ever having a strong presence. –Jimmy Martin

The Eagle
Focus Features
In Theaters: 02.11
If we’re going by record, Channing Tatum hasn’t had the greatest offerings as far as films go. He tap danced on our patience in the Step Up series, demolished our childhood memories in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and made us want to gag rather than cry in Dear John. However, a shimmer of hope came from his comical performance in Ron Howard’s The Dilemma, so maybe it’s time to give the lad another shot, especially with the gifted Kevin Macdonald running the show. Following the disappearance of his commanding father’s army, a dedicated Roman soldier (Tatum) seeking to salvage his family’s name is honorably discharged from the legion after being injured while rescuing his fellow soldiers. Unhappy with the turn of events, the crippled soldier plans to uncover the mystery behind his father’s vanishing and retrieve a golden statute lost in an unchartered and treacherous territory with the help of his native slave (Jamie Bell). Macdonald effectively conveys the true brutality behind war and the unknown with barbaric fight sequences where no one is protected against death, especially children. Surprisingly, Tatum’s career appears to be maturing like a fine wine, as it seems he’s only getting better with time. Gone are the days (hopefully) of flubbed dialogue and blank stares with no emotional reaction. Too much time is spent on traveling montages and redundant conversations regarding family history, but all is forgiven with an exhilarating culmination that’ll get your heart racing for the thrilling conclusion. ­–Jimmy Martin

Just Go with It
Columbia Pictures
In Theaters: 02.11
As soon as the logo for Happy Madison Productions (Adam Sandler’s production company) appears on the screen, it’s usually a coin flip on whether or not the pending film will be a reputable comedy classic or an excruciating disaster. The Wedding Singer? Hilarious! Little Nicky? Atrocious. 50 First Dates? Charming! Mr. Deeds? Mind-numbingly terrible. A quick assumption could be that the films’ success depends on the involvement of Drew Barrymore. Following that belief, you can see where the direction of the company’s latest release is headed, since Ms. Barrymore is nowhere to be found. A plastic surgeon (Sandler) who attracts females’ affection with a fake wedding ring forms an agreement with his long-time assistant (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend she’s his ex-wife in order to seal the deal with the girl of his dreams (Brooklyn Decker). As the excessive number of lies pile up, the platonic friends begin to question their own fondness toward each other. Sandler and Aniston never connect on a level that’s convincing and appear to be just two celebrities attempting improvisational comedy with minimal results. The majority of the laughs come from side characters performed by Nick Swardson and the surprising duo of Nicole Kidman and Dave Matthews (from the band), but these encouraging factors are entirely overshadowed by obnoxious child actors and multiple situations that call for Sandler’s groin to be pulverized. –Jimmy Martin

In Theaters: 02.03
My old man once told me, “You can’t polish a turd.” It’s simple and crass, but absolutely true. No matter how much technology or visual gimmickry (I’m looking at you, 3D) you pump into a production, if the storyline and acting are dreadful, the end product is going to suffer. James Cameron fueled Alister Grierson’s project with every bit of state-of-the-art equipment imaginable, but it was all in vain. Inspired by true events, a group of underwater cave divers on an expedition into the largest cave system on Earth find themselves trapped and in a race against time when a tropical storm floods their site and the only chance for survival is to travel deeper into the uncharted structure. After having already had the pleasure of watching Danny Boyle’s superb 127 Hours, it was easy to pinpoint whether or not Grierson’s claustrophobia-inducing cave adventure would hit similar marks and achieve a similar success. Sadly, the screenplay that leads Grierson and his cast of half-talented whiners features some of the most hackneyed dialogue conceivable. To make a bad situation worse, the catastrophe that is Ioan Gruffudd ruins every single moment he arrives on screen to a point that makes the film nothing but laughable. Seriously, in a world where thousands upon thousands of potentially talented actors and actresses are waiting tables in Los Angeles, how does this man still acquire roles? Talk about a real life tragedy. –Jimmy Martin